Lot of Bitcoins in front and Singapore flag

Singapore central bank’s white paper explores standards, use cases for digital money

Given the soaring adoption of digital money, Singapore’s central bank is keen on floating standard protocols to guide usage and ensure uniformity.

In a press release, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the publication of a paper to specify the conditions for using central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), stablecoins, and tokenized bank deposits.

MAS enlisted technical support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank of Korea (BOK), and a handful of financial technology firms in drafting the standards. A key theme throughout the white paper is the underlying need to unify various payment systems to enhance user experience.

“This collaboration among industry players and policymakers has helped achieve important advances in settlement efficiency, merchant acquisition, and user experience with the use of digital money,” said MAS Chief Fintech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty.

“More importantly, it has enhanced the prospects for digital money becoming a key component of the future financial and payments landscape,” added Mohanty.

Apart from CBDCs, the white paper unveiled the technical details of Purpose Bound Money (PBM) to Singapore’s financial system for the first time. The asset class will allow users to customize the type of merchants and their validity period, widening the possibilities for multiple use cases.

According to the white paper, the PBM will be interoperable with other forms of digital money across different ledgers under a common protocol. Several technology and payment firms are already conducting experiments to probe multiple use cases for PBM, with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) taking the lead.

The trio of Amazon, Grab (NASDAQ: GRAB), and FAZZ are collaborating on deploying PBM for online commerce through escrow arrangements. Other pilots revolving around PBM are focused on programmable rewards, with DBS, NETS, Grab, and UOB experimenting with customer cashback rewards.

Building on previous initiatives

The proposed PBM leverages the previous studies by MAS exploring the interlinking of CBDCs and other payment systems. Dubbed Project Orchid, the first phase of the pilot revealed that the country’s financial system does not require a retail CBDC at the moment.

The banking regulator has since launched several pilots to improve the state of digital payments, including Project Cedar x Ubin + in collaboration with the New York Innovation Center (NYIC). MAS says the studies are designed to improve both local and cross-border settlements for residents while reducing the reconciliation efforts of banks.

Watch: Rise of digital currencies in banking

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